Preview/Now on Kickstarter – Aether Captains (and Tiny Frontiers)

I recently had the chance to play a prototype copy of a game that just went up on Kickstarter, so now seemed like a good time to return with another spotlight on a couple of interesting games on the crowdfunding platform.


Aether Captains: Steampunk is so much cooler than the current them of the year (Vikings … also I swear we are going to have that Vikings episode sometime soon), and so I sat down to play a prototype copy of Aether Captains. I could show you pictures of the prototype, but since it didn’t have those big chunky colored dice or the miniatures, it’s just less impressive than the stock photo. In Aether Captains, one player (the Fleet Commander) controls one or two skyships of the Imperial navy, while each other player (War Captains) controls a band of much smaller sky pirate ships. The miniatures represent the ships as they move about on the hex board, while the dice have the ships’ statistics (each pirate ship is one die, while each navy ship is six dice). The dice are rotated as the ships take damage, changing their stats (it’s really for the best that you don’t roll those dice, you’ll end up with a dented table). The Fleet Commander’s goal is straightforward – wipe out enough of the War Captains’ ships. In order to win the War Captains must destroy part of the naval ship, but each War Captain has their own individual goal, such as gathering and transporting certain resources, or conquering certain island cities. The players maneuver their ships, attack, collect resources, recruit crew, and perform other actions via action cards. Each player selects about three per turn at the start of the round, then they are executed in order, so the Fleet Commander has to anticipate what the War Captains will be up to. Actions cards cannot be reused until a player has emptied their current stack. During the Kickstarter campaign the base game  goes for $60, with two expansions available for a total of another $40 (with another two six-dice navy ships and six new pirate ships for two new factions). The campaign runs until May 9, 2016, and is already fully funded.

Tiny Frontiers

Tiny Frontiers: A self-described minimalist roleplaying game where your character sheet is an index card and everything you need to play can fit in a large dice bag, Tiny Frontiers is licensed from the Tiny Dungeon rules, but adds in rules for creating the party’s ship (and new thematic races and traits, of course). A large portion of the book seems to be a variety of “micro settings” to inspire the GM/group. The softcover book is available for $20 (sorry, the fancy hardcover option is sold out – Correction: The project designers have informed me that more hardcover copies will be added as the overall number of backers increases). The Kickstarter campaign runs through May 17, 2016, and the game is currently about halfway funded (although hopefully it will double its funding goal so that all of the micro-settings are unlocked). Full disclosure – I noticed this game because one of the folks working on it is Robert “Spooky” Denton, who is awesome.

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